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Developers plan ‘New England style’ Dunkin’ Donuts

DRB has 45 days to write decision

WILMINGTON—The team behind attempts to bring a Dunkin’ Donuts to Route 9 has presented revised building designs to the Development Review Board.

The board has 45 days to write its decision on whether to give the town’s blessing for Sandri LLC to add a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise to its gas station located between the post office and Family Dollar.

As long as the project meets zoning requirements, the DRB will likely approve the project. If approved, the project should be completed by the spring, according to Michael Behn, president of the Greenfield, Mass.-based firm.

Richard Marcks, the company’s director of operations, walked the board through recent alterations the company made to its initial building designs.

“We completely redesigned the building” to incorporate community feedback taken at previous meetings, Marcks said at the Aug. 31 DRB meeting. The 30-minute meeting was a continuation of the Aug. 12 DRB meeting and a recent site visit by board members.

Gone was the mostly square, flat-roofed building. The designs Marcks presented depicted a more Colonial style building with a pitched front roof and a solid fence concealing the building’s cooling and ventilation systems on a flat part of the roof. Gables were added above the door and windows.

The company also removed a number of plate-glass windows to give the building more of the style of nearby houses and “break up the plate-glass look,” Marcks said.

On the new design, antique gooseneck-style lamps replace other lights that some DRB members previously said might be too harsh and disturb neighbors.

A plastic, backlit Dunkin’ Donuts sign was swapped for a wooden version.

Awnings were also removed, except for one fabric awning at the back of the building to shield workers from rain at the drive-through window.

A narrow garden area was added near a proposed sidewalk.

“Just so that it’s not a sea of blacktop anymore,” Marcks said.

Instead of operating 24/7 as first proposed, Marcks said the Dunkin’ Donuts would operate from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Behn confirmed for the DRB members that the gas station has remained in continuous operation and conforms to state permits and regulations.

Marcks and Behn have also said they don’t anticipate any toxic ground contamination from the building’s many years as a gas station and auto mechanic business.

Sandri anticipates investing $400,000 into its unstaffed gas station at 43 East Main St. to make way for the franchise and drive-through, which they say will create 14 jobs, including a gas station attendant.

Citizens weigh in

Opposition to the chain — with 3,100 locations internationally — has been strong, with more than 400 people signing an online petition started by Andrea Silverman in early August.

Concerns expressed by petition signers and people who spoke at previous meetings included taking business from existing businesses, destroying the town’s unique character, traffic snarls on a already busy road, pedestrian safety, and disturbing people living nearby.

On Aug. 31, Selectboard member and Town Clerk Susan Joy Haughwout spoke on behalf of 10 local residents and businesses.

Some of the signatories are neutral about Dunkin’ Donuts coming to town, she said. But some of the signatories are huge supporters.

Most of the people Haughwout spoke for had had concerns about the building’s design — concerns which the project team has since answered.

Haughwout added that she was glad the hours of operation would be reduced.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #321 (Wednesday, September 2, 2015). This story appeared on page C1.

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